Sunday, February 03, 2008

Future of Yahoo! Finance

Ever since Microsoft's $44 billion bid for Yahoo! was announced last Friday, I can't help wondering (along with the rest of the blogosphere) what will happen to Yahoo's highly prized web properties, particularly Yahoo! Finance.

Will a MSFT/YHOO merger kill Yahoo! Finance as we know it? In spite of our recent tirades against changes to the Finance portal, it still remains one of the most widely used investment sites on the web. If you're a fan of the site, you have to wonder about any further changes that may come about through a union with "big Red(mond)".

Now Microsoft is no stranger to the personal finance and investment game. Their MSN Money portal has long been a popular destination for investors, and the MSN stock screener deluxe tool is one of my personal favorites. Plus, if memory serves, MSN Money was further ahead in the adoption of interactive stock charts.

But these points are likely to provide little comfort to long-time users of Yahoo Finance, who may be hesitant to use Microsoft services. Some users may just want to know if their watch lists and other commonly used features will remain the same.

One thing is sure, most observers that I've read seem to think that this proposed deal is a likely wreck, for both the companies and the users of popular Yahoo services. Here's how one commenter at the Big Picture blog put it:

"Finally, the word I've gotten from every techie I've talked to is that the proposed MS/Yahoo merger is a train wreak. Personally, I think it's as good an idea as Mercedes buying Chrysler. It will destroy Yahoo, and do very little for MSN, of that I have little doubt.

Yahoo is programmed on a COMPLETELY different platform, and forcing a change (and MS will force) will send the vast majority of Yahoo programmers, in my opinion, elsewhere - voluntarily or involuntarily. To quote some of my friends, I don't see how two mediocre products add up to a good product. I fear Yahoo Finance will suffer."

I guess it's too early to tell what will happen now. Especially since Google is said to have entered the picture in a proposed alternate alliance with Yahoo.

We'll try to keep tabs on the situation, and hopefully some of our more tech-savvy readers will help keep us informed. In the meantime, here's a further sampling of views on the proposed Yahoo-Microsoft deal.

"Microsoft-Yahoo could skip culture clash" - BusinessWeek.

"Privacy groups vow to fight Microsoft Yahoo deal" - ITworld.com.

"Yahoo may consider Google alliance, source says" - Reuters.

"Comparing Yahoo's and Microsoft's services" - Center Networks.

"And then there were two..." - Erik Selberg.